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VIRTUAL TALK: “On Account of Race” with Lawrence Goldstone
March 16, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm$10.00
ON ACCOUNT OF RACE
The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of African American Voting Rights
By the end of Reconstruction, more than 500,000 African Americans had registered to vote across the South. The vast majority were former slaves. By 1906, less than ten percent remained. Beginning in 1876, the Court systematically dismantled both the equal protection guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment, at least for African Americans, and what seemed to be the guarantee of the right to vote in the Fifteenth. The Southern states used the grandfather clause, poll taxes, literacy tests, and anything else they could to block African Americans from voting—including violence. Many were terrified to go the polls, lest they be beaten, murdered, or have their homes burned to the ground. None of this was done in the shadows. Those determined to wrest the vote from black Americans could not have been more boastful in either intent or execution. The Court wrote decisions at odds with the Constitution and reinforced the racial stereotypes of the day. Even such noteworthy judges as Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes approved the white population’s effort to keep the ballot box for themselves. Award-winning constitutional law historian Lawrence Goldstone examines case-based evidence to tell the story of this American tragedy, the only occasion in United States history in which a group of citizens who had been granted the right to vote then had it stripped away–with full approval, even the sponsorship, of the United States Supreme Court on account of race.
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